Happy Winter Solstice

I missed marking the Winter Solstice of 2020 which was at 10:03 UT yesterday, December 21st. The wiki notes that “the winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky.” This day onward, the period of daylight will continually increase in the Northern hemisphere until the Summer Solstice (which will be at 3:32 UT on 21st June, 2021) when the process will reverse.

It’s curious that although the night of Dec 21st is the longest night, Dec 21st is not the day with the latest sunrise. Sunrise time depends on the latitude of a place — the more distant from the equator, the later the sunrise and the earlier the sunset (making appropriate adjustments for the differences in the two hemispheres.) Where I live, sunrise was around 7:19 AM on Dec 21st; the latest sunrise will be on January 5th, 2021 at 7:23 AM. After Jan 5th, the sun will rise earlier on each subsequent days. Continue reading